Coming Soon: van Gogh’s birthday dinner at Casanova

Carmel’s Casanova Restaurant is throwing a birthday party for Vincent van Gogh on March 30. This quaint restaurant actually hosts the very table from the Auberge Ravoux, where van Gogh dined the summer of 1890 before his death. (Visit Van Gogh’s Table for more information.)

Casanova is celebrating Van Gogh's birthday with a special five-course dinner.

Casanova is celebrating Van Gogh’s birthday with a special five-course dinner.

Casanova’s executive chef, Johnny de Vivo, will prepare a five-course meal for van Gogh’s birthday. The menu reflects the artist’s life and work, translated into a culinary creation with fresh, local ingredients. Dinner is at 7:00 and is available for $75 per person, with wine pairings chosen by beverage director Jeff Birkemeier for an additional $40.

Take a peek at the mouthwatering menu . . .

The Van Gogh Birthday Menu:

Tartelette au Tournesol
sunflower tart with rhubarb, absinthe mascarpone, 
& dandelion crisp

Le Crabe Renversé
upside-down crab with artichoke & green garlic remoulade

Retour de la Chasse
venison sausage, red cabbage, Vidalia onions, & walnut cream

Le Sorbet
absinthe & lemon sorbet

Les Mangeurs de Pommes de Terre
three variations of potato, braised lamb shank, & carrots

Casanova Restaurant is on Fifth Avenue, between Mission and San Carlos, in Carmel. 831-625-0501. Call Casanova’s Special Events Department at 831-625-2727 to make reservations.

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Coming Soon: Locals for the Locals wine dinner at Restaurant 1833

Restaurant 1833_LogoThis week, Restaurant 1833 announced a new series of wine events to lure in locals. I’m always amazed how many locals haven’t tried Restaurant 1833—most think it’s only a spot for spendy special dinners and they’re intimidated by the accolades the restaurant has been racking up. The upcoming wine events should hopefully open the eyes of locals to the great food and drink offered in the old adobe.

First up is “Locals for the Locals,” showcasing local wines, paired with a menu prepared by chef Levi Mezick, on Monday, March 18. Diners can expect a four-course meal with wine pairings for a very reasonable $50 per person. (Reservations are required.)

Monday’s dinner will also feature a special guest, Ian Brand, the winemaker and proprietor of Field Fare, Coastview, La Marea and P’tit Paysan. Brand works for numerous wineries in the county and his own wines come from the more rugged corners of Monterey.

Take a peek at the menu . . .

Monday March 18th 2013


LA MAREA, Albariño, Monterey 2011
Compressed Asian Pear, Hiccama, Candied Walnuts, Citrus cumin Dressing

P’TIT PAYSAN, Chardonnay, “Jack’s Hill” Monterey 2011
Calamari, Confit Tomato, Basil, Roasted Garlic

LA MAREA, Grenache, Spur Ranch, Monterey 2010
Roasted Root Vegetables, Purple Mustard sauce

P’TIT PAYSAN, Petite Sirah, Monterey 2011
Tomato Jam, Arugula

Restaurant 1833 is at 500 Hartnell Street in Monterey. 831-648-1833.

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Coming Soon: Lilify to host first pop-up dinner

After last month’s successful Valentine’s Day dessert reception, Lilify is taking the plunge into pop-up dinners. This Sunday, March 10, the shop will be converted into a dining room for an intimate dinner experience.

Lilify_Popup dinner flyerChef Amber Kirpes from Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn will be preparing dinner for the evening, with wines provided by Pierce Ranch Vineyards. Dinner is served at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $78 per person and available at Lilify’s shop on Lighthouse Avenue.

I’m certainly supportive of the pop-up dinner trend, having attended a few myself, like Füd’s coffee-inspired dinner at East Village Coffee Lounge, a seafood-centric dinner highlighting Local Catch Monterey Bay at La Balena and of course the dessert dinner at The Independent. These unconventional dinners present a great opportunity to meet local foodies and chat with the chefs directly. I hope to see more chefs following in Lilify’s footsteps and hosting special dinners around town.

Lilify is at 281 Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey. 831-207-1380.

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Coming Soon: Beer pairing dinner with Lagunitas Brewing Company at CRBC

Cannery Row Brewing Company is hosting another beer-pairing dinner next week. On Tuesday, February 26, CRBC is teaming up with Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Company for a reception, followed by dinner.

The menu will be prepared by new chef Daniel Furey. What does he have in store for the evening? How about:

Lagunitas IPA
Soft Pretzel Nuggets
With Smoked Pork, Pickle, and IPA Fondue

Lagunitas IPA
Smoked Tomato Bruschetta
Goat Cheese and Sage Pesto

1st course
Lagunitas Sucks!
Mustard and Lagunitas Sucks Braised Rabbit
Saffron Pappardelle, Baby Carrots, Pearl Onions and Arugula

2nd course
Lagunitas Little Sumthin’
Short Ribs
Chick Pea Polenta, Glazed Parsnips

Cheese Course
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Mt. Tam
Hop Stoopid Caramel, Apricot Chutney

Lagunitas Cappucino Stout
Cappucino Beer Float
Petite Rich Chocolate Cake

If last month’s beer-pairing dinner with San Diego breweries are any indication, this dinner will sell out, so call or go online to make a reservation now!

Cannery Row Brewing Company is at 95 Prescott Avenue in Monterey. 831-643-2722.

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Timewarp Tuesday: Pizza party on

In case you missed it, I’m reposting reviews from my time at the Monterey Herald every Tuesday. Here’s my review of Carmel’s Vesuvio that appeared in the Go! section of the Monterey Herald on September 27, 2012.

It’s been a busy summer, meaning postponed pizza plans with Joe, my friend who’s an East Coast transplant with a picky pizza palate. Now that things have settled down, we’re back on our quest to find the best pizza in town.

Pizza is so much more than the plain pepperoni pie these days.

Pizza is so much more than the plain pepperoni pie these days.

Pizza’s growing up. Gone are the days of just cheese or pepperoni, now you’ll find pizzas topped with figs or Dungeness crab. I’ve convinced Joe to expand the scope of our pizza tasting to sample some of these more adult pizzas at local restaurants.

When it comes to pizza, Joe firmly believes less is more, so we eased into the world of gourmet pizza with a visit to Carmel’s Vesuvio, which balances the classics with more non-traditional combinations.

On our first visit, we went in as pizza purists, ordering the basic Margherita ($16) and the Salsiccia ($17.50)

The Margherita is a classic pizza preparation.

The Margherita is a classic pizza preparation.

Joe loved the simplicity of the Margherita dal 1889. With sweet tomato sauce, melted mozzarella and a light accent of basil, it’s really more like a cheese pizza than a margherita. (For a more traditional take with fresh tomato and mozzarella, try the La DOC ($18.50) instead.)

The Salsiccia embellished the canvas of the Margherita with sausage and peppers.

The Salsiccia embellished the canvas of the Margherita with sausage and peppers.

The Salsiccia pizza expanded on the simple canvas of the margherita, adding spicy sausage and red and yellow peppers. I would have preferred the peppers cooked a little longer, to render them a little more tender against the chewy crust.

Continue reading

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Coming Soon: Luca Late Nights

Who knew that Carmel would be the spot for late-night drinks and dancing?

Mundaka has emerged as a staple of the late-night scene, offering late-night food, drinks and DJs over the weekend—on Thursdays, DJ Hanif Wondir always attracts a crowd looking to get a jump on the weekend.

Cantinetta Luca_Luca Late NightsNow, Cantinetta Luca is getting into the late-night game with the launch of Luca Late Nights tonight, February 8. Luca Late Nights find the restaurant taking on a lounge-like mood from 10:00 to 1:30 AM.

The restaurant offers a full bar while DJ Darth (Pete Sanchez) spins some chill music. Mirabel Food and Beverage Director Giuseppe Panzuto hopes to add food to the mix in the coming weeks, with pizzas and small bites available in case you work up an appetite while dancing and want some late-night munchies.

I certainly welcome the addition of late-night food and drink options at Cantinetta Luca, joining the ranks of other stellar restaurants like Mundaka and Restaurant 1833.

Cantinetta Luca is on Dolores Street, between Ocean and Seventh, in Carmel. 831-625-6500.

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Coming Soon: An evening of wine and desserts at Lilify

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Lilify—the charming new shop for floral, vintage and artisan goods—is hosting an evening of wine tasting and desserts this Sunday, February 10, from 5:00 to 8:00.

Lilify_Wine tasting flyerThe wines come courtesy of Pierce Ranch Vineyards, paired with petits fours whipped up by the dynamic duo of Brandi Lamb and Cirilo Aragon at Cafe Lumiere. Tickets are $18 per person and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are available at Lilify’s shop on Lighthouse Avenue—be sure to drop by to peruse the shop’s selection of locally made homegoods and a killer collection of quirky cards. (They were my one-stop shop for Christmas cards this year!) Tickets are also available at Cafe Lumiere or at Pierce’s tasting room on Wave Street.

Lilify is at 281 Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey. 831-207-1380.

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